Ainu - Sociopolitical Organization

Nowhere among the Ainu does political organization extend beyond the settlement, although occasionally a few extremely small settlements form a larger political unit, or a small settlement belongs politically to an adjacent larger settlement. Ainu political leaders are usually not autocratic; elders in the settlement are usually involved in decision making and executing the rules.

Although the formalized ideology prohibits women from participating in the major religious activities that provide the basis of sociopolitical powers for males, there are a number of culturally constituted ways for women to exercise nonformalized power, as discussed in the section on shamanism.

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